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New York City has a new web portal for teens. Click on www.nyc.gov/teen to find information, resources, and help.


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New York City has a new web portal for teens. Click on www.nyc.gov/teen to find information, resources, and help.


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(24 hours)
1-800-543-3638 (English)
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Visit www.nyc.gov/teen and click on "Dating and Friends" and "Feeling Stressed" to learn more.

Youth In Progress

Hotlines (dating violence, housing, mental health)


Lawyers for Children

Legal Aid (call the office in the borough where you lived when you first went into foster care)
Bronx: 718-579-7900
Brooklyn: 718-237-7100
Manhattan: 212-312-2260
Queens: 718-298-8900
Staten Isl.: 718-981-0219

Education/Special Ed
Advocates for Children

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Featured Story

Treat Me the Same: I was excluded from my foster family
image by Froylan Garcia
Treat Me the Same
I was excluded from my foster family

I’ve been in foster care since I was a little girl. My mom has been on drugs and in and out of jail ever since my siblings and I were born. I often feel lost and lonely, so peer pressure has become a big issue for me. That’s mainly how I get into trouble, doing things to fit in and feel loved, like smoking weed and ditching school with the ones who seem to love me. I started running away from foster homes when I was 11.

In January 2009, I was 15 years old. I was moving to a new foster family, and I was ready to start a new life. I made a resolution to turn my life around, stay focused on school, and stay out of trouble.

When I met the family, they were very nice—a mom and a dad, three little kids, and two other teenagers living at the house. I was the second foster kid that they had taken in but the other one had left to be adopted weeks before I came.

Right away, they made me feel like part of the family. There was a birthday party at their house my first night there for their daughter Tina, who was around my age. The mom and dad approached me and said, “Shantae, you are more than welcome to join our party.” I thought, “These people like to have fun and celebrate.” I liked it there so far. So I nodded my head yes and smiled and said, “Thank you.”

After about two months, though, everyone’s attitude in the house changed toward me. I wondered why, since I wasn’t doing anything different from when I first got there—doing my chores and homework and showing good manners.

Worse Than Rude

But they were worse than rude to me. They would tell me that they were just going to the store and end up leaving me home by myself, returning home a few days later. One day during a home visit, my social worker asked me, “How do you like your babysitter?” I was confused, and then I realized that the mom was telling my social worker that a responsible adult was looking after me when they left town. I went along with it because I didn’t want to tell on the mom. I didn’t know what the outcome would be.

The mom was the one who made all the plans without me. She was always acting like I wasn’t a part of the family and barely talked to me. The dad’s face seemed to say that he disapproved; he would be nice to me when no one was around. But he was scared to stop the nonsense. I heard him say to his wife one night, “I will always be on your side even if you’re wrong. I wouldn’t want to take the blame for this family breaking up.” The kids treated me the same way the mom did; it was like they didn’t know any better. . .

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